(GUYANA CHRONICLE) — The University of Guyana (UG) will move to beef up security on the Turkeyen campus beginning from today, following two recent bomb threats made recently.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, UG received two threats stating that a bomb was planted on the campus. On Tuesday, the threat was made around midday and classes were cancelled for the rest of the day, as members of the police force and fire department searched the campus for explosives. No explosives were found and as such, the university resumed classes on Wednesday.
However, on Wednesday, the university received yet another threat and subsequently closed the campus again, this time, for the rest of the week to allow the administration to assess the situation and craft countermeasures.
“As a result of last week’s experience, my leadership team decided that we did not have the luxury of ignoring any threat,” UG Vice-Chancellor, Dr Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, told a press conference on Monday.
“We took seriously the threat on Tuesday, which led to evacuation; we took seriously the threat on Wednesday, and mindful of the experiences of Tuesday and Wednesday, we recognise that we were not in an adequate preparation mode,” Griffith related.
To remedy the situation, the vice-chancellor highlighted that the university now has to beef up security on campus.
A few measures will be implemented from today that will focus heavily on enforcing the need for proper identification on campus, since this was very “lacklustre”, Professor Griffith said.
“Beginning Wednesday, everyone will have to display an [identification card]. If you don’t have your staff or student ID, you’ll have to have some other form of identification to gain access to the campus,” he said.
He also noted that only persons in possession of UG ID cards will be allowed access to the campus through the smaller, south gate.
A “stronger approach” will also be taken toward vehicles that do not have the UG sticker on them.
These measures will be monitored for two weeks and will subsequently be evaluated and modified, if necessary.
In addition to the measures being implemented, UG has put together a task force which will look into more long-term measures to bolster security. According to Professor Griffith, the task force is headed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Barbara Reynolds.
There is a possibility that the university might search all visitors on campus, if recommended by the task force. But that would require trained security personnel and more manpower, according to the VC, who added that this could not be immediately achieved.
The campus currently has 51 buildings and the use of an electronic access system had been previously considered.
“There are a number of things we have to do [but] we do not have the luxury [of time] until that plan is done and approved,” the vice-chancellor said.
All of the security measures will require students always being in possession of some form of identification. Professor Griffith urged students and staff to understand the situation and be vigilant while on campus.
“We are doing it not because we want to harass people, but we are doing it because we want to ensure safety and security,” he said.